04-01-2019 10:02 PM
I took this photo with a Canon 80D with an EF-S55-250 f4/5.6 IS STM lense, max zoom in Fully Auto mode, with L size and JPEG output. The picture came out pretty good (original pic file size exceeded max allowable for post), but when I blow it up (pic attached) I loose detail in the feathers. I have a few questions about how to get a clearer forcus. Would RAW format generall produce a higher quality image; would SCN mode produce a sharper focus; or would it be better to use one of the advanced operations - e.g. Tv or Av. Or finally, is it better to avoid using the full zoom on this lense and keep it to about 200mm. This is my first DSLR, so consider me a novice, which is what I am. Thanks for whatever suggestions you may have.
04-02-2019 03:39 AM
I took this photo with a Canon 80D with an EF-S55-250 f4/5.6 IS STM lense, max zoom in Fully Auto mode, with L size and JPEG output. The picture came out pretty good (original pic file size exceeded max allowable for post), but when I blow it up (pic attached) I loose detail in the feathers. I have a few questions about how to get a clearer forcus.
Would RAW format generall produce a higher quality image; would SCN mode produce a sharper focus; or would it be better to use one of the advanced operations - e.g. Tv or Av. Or finally, is it better to avoid using the full zoom on this lense and keep it to about 200mm. This is my first DSLR, so consider me a novice, which is what I am. Thanks for whatever suggestions you may have.
I think you just need to practice some more, and learn more about the nuances of how the camera operates. Also, you are using a “camera kit” lens, which are not known to be among the best lenses Canon has to offer. Although, I liked my 55-250 for shooting stills, I did not like my results when shooting action shots. I still had a lot to learn about DSLRs. Saving your photos as RAW will not increase details, but it will create files that offer more flexibility in editing.
When you “blew up” the shot, you did not lose details. The details were probably never there from the start. One reason is probably the Fully Auto shooting mode, by which I assume you meant the Green [A] mode. The camera uses AI Focus focusing mode in Green [A] mode. This means that it automatically switches between One Shot and AI Servo focusing modes. This focusing behavior is not a good match for action photography. This mode does not offer continuous drive shooting mode, either.
There is a SCN mode dedicated for Sports/Action photography. This mode uses AI Servo focusing, and Continuous drive shooting modes. You could expect better results using that mode. Understand that the camera has a setting known as “Image Priority’, which determines whether or not the camera should actually lock focus before firing the shutter.
Image Priority can be set for “Shutter Priority”, which allows for the fastest frame rates in continuous drive shooting modes because it does not wait for a focus confirmation before firing the shutter. Or, it can be set for “Focus Priority”, which does wait for a focus confirmation before firing the shutter. Focus Priority can reduce the continuous shooting frame rate per second. In SCN mode, you are not given a choice on how Image Priority is set. It is set for Shutter Priority. I set my cameras for Focus Priority.
The “Creative” shooting modes are P, Av, Tv, and M. Any of these shooting modes open up the full menu system to the user, and allow you to adjust Image Priority however you want. I set my cameras for Focus Priority because I see little point in firing the shutter without first obtaining a focus lock. My lenses focus fast enough that I do not see a noticeable drop in continuous shooting speed. Your EF-S 55-250mm should not take a noticeable performance hit, either. You will get the best results using one of the Creative shooting modes.
Canon’s advanced DSLRs actually have two Image Priority settings, a 1st and 2nd setting. The two settings apply to Contnuous Drive shooting modes. You can control the behavior on the 1st shot in a series independently of subsequent shots in a series of shots. For some photographers, it is critical for the camera to respond almost immediately when the shutter is fully pressed. If the camera is prefocused on a subject, then there is no penalty to for the camera not waiting to lock focus. Imagine focusing on a batter standing in the batter’s box, waiting for a pitch, and you want to catch the moment the bat makes contact with the ball.
You also asked about reducing the focal length that you use. That is entirely up to you. Most bird photographers want as much focal length as possible. Some lenses are softer are maximum focal lengths. Your 55-250mm lens has a zoom range on the APS-C sensor 80D that is roughly equivalent to my 100-400mm lens on my full frame 6D. It is a good working range for most sports. I do not get “Sports Illustrated” close ups with it, not unless the players are almost close enough to touch.
Most bird photographers like having 600mm of focal length. Canon’s 600mm lenses are priced way above the range for the average consumer. Sigma and Tamron seek 150-600mm zoom lenses that are VERY popular with bird photographers. I use a Sigma 150-600 “C” on my full frame 6D. It is big and heavy beast of a lens. I need to use a camera support, like a monopod or tripod, with it for extended shooting sessions.
For a little less money, and a lot less weight, Sigma and Tamron also have 100-400mm lenses, which would have a zoom range that would be equivalent to a 150-600mm lens on a full frame camera body, like my 6D. Using one of the 150-600mm lenses would give an equivalent zoom range of roughly 250-900mm on a full frame body, which is plenty of focal length to count craters on the Moon.
Finally, I suggest using FAST shutter speeds for capturing BIF, birds in flight, type of shots. I use shutter speeds around 1/1600 for most action shots You will only get this type of control over your shutter speeds by using one of the Creative modes. I suggest beginning with the P mode, which is excellent for learning about all of the features in the camera. Take lots of shots, and learn to pay attention to what exposure settings the camera might use. You will begin to notice patterns, and how some settings may work better in a given situation than other settings. This is where the Av, Tv, and M modes come into play.
I like to use M mode for most of my shooting, but with ISO set to Auto. There are menu settings that allow you to limit what range of ISO values the camera can use when ISO is set to Auto. Another strategy is to set ISO yourself, and use either Av or Tv modes, which allow the camera to automatically set either the shutter speed or an aperture setting. Notice how each of these approaches allow the camera to only control just one of the three legs of the exposure triangle.
Sorry for the lengthy post, but your questions did not have simple answers. In fact, I did not really answer your questions. The best answers are gained through experience. Your eagle shot that you posted will serve as a good experience.
04-02-2019 08:38 AM
For these kinds of shots expect few truly excellent "keepers". But this shot is perfectly servicable and you should be proud of it. Take as many shots as you can, some shots will be sharper than others.
04-02-2019 10:43 AM
I really appreciate the detailed response. You have provided some great insight that I can work on. SCN was going to be my next choice, just to see what happens, so your comments about Image Priority is very helpful. Yeah, why shoot it you it's not in focus.
I went back and checked the image details and it was shot at 1/500. Not fast enough for BIF,even on a bright afternoon. Another good suggestion you have given me. So SCN may not be next choice since the shutter speed is on auto in that mode. But I'll give a try anyway just to see what kind of results I get - part of the learning process.
I was aware of the $$$$ of the Canon large telephotos. I will probably have to wait until someone leaves me a Canon telephoto to me in their will. So your comments about Sigma and Tamron are appreciated. A longer zoom capability is defintely on my wish list.
You actually did provide allot of answers to questions I asked, and some I should have asked. You have given me some good suggestions and I'll give them a try and see what happens. Fortunately, I know the eagles' address so they should provide me plenty of opportunities to try out various combinations.
Thanks again, you have been very helpful.
04-02-2019 10:51 AM
Plan and simple, your shot is either OOF or motion blur.
The viewing distance is something you need to take into consideration. A lot of photos look good at smaller sizes and farther distances away from the picture. When you blow up or enlarge or crop you lose resolution. Any imperfection will also be blown up or enlarged by the same amount.
"Would RAW format generall produce a higher quality image..."
Actually Raw can produce less sharp images then a Large jpg. Why? There is no sharpening added by the camera when using Raw.
"I took this photo ... in Fully Auto mode,..."
This almost guarantees failure when trying to do BIF. You need to tell the camera what to do. Not let it decide what is best.
I would set the mode to Av and select f8. Set the ISO 800 or 1600 but be prepared to change it as needed. This lets the 80D automatically select the fastest SS it can for proper exposure. Select and use the center focus point or perhaps make the center 9 selectable. This can help with BIF. Try these suggestions and come back and show what you got.
BTW, do shoot Raw but be prepared to do post editing where you can add the necessary things like sharpening. You got the free from Canon DPP4 with your camera. It works well for beginners.